August News | Explorers Camp, Botswana

On the newsletter front, Explorers has been somewhat quiet, we’ve been the sleepy sloths of newsletter writers, but really, it’s been quite the contrary here at our beautiful little camp on the Selinda Spillway. So, in essence, this is not so much of an “August Newsletter”, but rather a “Peak Season Newsletter” where I will try, despite my unrelenting urge to ramble on for hours with camp stories, to give a (somewhat) brief account of the wonderful highlights we’ve had so far.

We’ve been busy, in the best kind of way, and that’s an understatement.  I suppose the hi-light of our last newsletter was a recount of 13 beautiful painted dogs chasing and killing an impala in camp just meters from where we stood, and, without sounding too flippant or blasé about what I know some people will wait their whole lives to see, it’s become such a regular occurrence in camp I hardly bat an eyelid anymore. No, not really, that’s a lie… of epic proportions. There is SO much batting of eyelids and excitement each time it happens I can sometimes hardly contain myself, nor fumble fast or furiously enough to get my camera on the right settings as I dash out my little tented office to capture the action. Had I been just a few seconds faster, in this very picture would be a beautiful, enormous male kudu that had just run through the spillway from a pack of five wild dogs at sunset. After almost a half hour of running through camp, crashing into guests tents, being cornered in the kitchen and chased over the canoes, the kudu was lucky enough to escape, but not so lucky, I fear, was the impala that went dashing past the dinner table past some flabbergasted guests later that night from the same pack. Safe to say, we have certainly not been short of any wild dog action at Explorers.

I seem to be slightly predisposed to a slight sunset obsession, I just love the light and the colours and the beauty of them, and really try always to make the most of every single one. Come to Explorers and there WILL, without doubt, be a sunset celebration of sorts.

A sunset bath on the Spillway…

PIC-2

A sunset dinner…

PIC-3

A sunset lion sighting on the spillway as you canoe past… not such a regular occurrence, but amazing luck for those guests who saw these two beautiful males come right to the waters edge for a drink as they made their way to our “sunset spot” for sundowners.

PIC 4-

Lionesses love a good sunset too…

PIC-5

The good thing about these sunsets, is there’s one EVERY single day. How lucky is that?

 

PIC-6

The months of June and July were filled with fort-building, tree-climbing, chocolate-cake-devouring, bow-and-arrow-making two legged little delights who learnt all about our beautiful animals, conservation and how to make an abominable mess, I mean “fort” out of every single piece of furniture and cushion in sight. Beautiful work, boys.

PIC-7

They were really quite sweet and passed their little quiz on their last night in camp with flying colours and a “Conservation Ambassador” certificate to show for it.They learnt very fast that keeping quiet on game drives and listening to instructions had all sorts of fun rewards: fishing, canoeing, playing soccer with the staff and helping in the kitchen. As a caveat to this invitation for all children to come  and have fun at Explorers, be warned that they WILL fall in love with our guide Kane and leaving for the next camp might cause a bit of a scene.

PIC-8

Paddling down the spillway past a herd of elephant with your new bushman friend in Botswana, as you do when you’re a little boy…

 

The sightings at Explorers have been mind-blowing and recently, not a day goes by when guests aren’t coming back with stories of playful lion cubs, beautiful wild dog puppies, leopards up trees, lions on the move, cheetahs resting in the shade, kills, chases, you name it.. it’s been incredible. We’ve had leopard in camp, lions roaring through the night, hippos grunting, regular visits and loud whoops from hyenas, honey badgers causing havoc, buffalo grazing outside our tents, wild dog puppies chirping and playing with the hammock, a cacophony of beautiful sounds… we really are deep in the bush here at Explorers and I may be slightly biased but SERIOUSLY, are we not the coolest camp in the whole of Botswana?

Going into the dry period now, the natural pans are drying up, bringing the elephants, as well as the herds of buffalo, closer to camp and along the spillway for better grazing, creating wonderful opportunities for guests to see them from their tents, around the lunch table, peeping over showers, whilst on the canoes and out on walks. Sightings on foot have been excellent too and long, hard walks have been rewarded with surprise picnics in the bush…

PIC-9 PIC-10

For those of you who haven’t yet met our beautiful Explorers chef… this is Tshidi, lamb-shank-cooking, carrot-cake-baking guru.

PIC-11

Tshidi and I have big plans to play our small part in the “Rhinos Without Borders” Project (moving 100 rhinos to safety from South Africa to Botswana) and are working on a secret project called “Recipes for Rhinos”, so stay tuned for updates on that one. Kane, our Explorers guide, has been known to be fairly competitive and equally as dedicated to the project, agreeing to donate $5 of every tip he makes towards the Rhino Project. Team Explorers is on it.

So, when i’m next not busy planning picnics, setting sundowners, filling bubble baths, lighting candles, dancing with my housekeepers to old Dolly Parton tracks, chasing hornbills from the muesli bowl and fluffing cushions, I’ll be sure to keep you updated on all the weird and wonderful happenings at Explorers. Until next month…